Other States

Don’t treat children as NRC ‘collateral damage’: Assam NGO

By September 1, 200 Foreigners’ Tribunals will operate.

By September 1, 200 Foreigners’ Tribunals will operate.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

An Assam-based NGO specialising in child rights has warned of the psychological impact of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) on children and asked the authorities not to treat them as “collateral damage” from the expensive exercise.

The final NRC is scheduled to be published on August 31. There are fears that at least 20 lakh people – many of them children – would be labelled foreigners after being excluded from the list.

The Universal Team for Social Action and Help (UTSAH) took to social media to remind the government of the need to honour India’s commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“We support NRC as a local organisation, but a violation of children’s rights cannot be treated as collateral damage acceptable in pursuit of an exercise deemed to be in national interest. The government should ensure the protection of children from all forms of physical and psychological abuse without discrimination of any kind,” Utsah executive director Miguel Das Queah said.

Fact-finding panel

He said his NGO would constitute a fact-finding committee after the publication of the final NRC list and suggest rectification if any violation of children’s rights was found.

In a 2018 report, Amnesty International said there were 31 children in Assam’s detention centres for declared foreigners and some of them had come of age in captivity without access to counselling.

The report said that girls were allowed to stay with their mothers while boys above the age of six were sent out of the centres. “Although this takes them out of the confines of the prison, often there is no one willing to take responsibility for them,” it said.

A 2018 National Human Rights Commission report on Assam’s detention centres underlined the need for caring and protecting children of “foreigners” in detention camps under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

The National Campaign Against Torture too had found out that “children are the worst victims of mental torture” in the NRC process. “They are witness to the mental trauma of their parents and bear the brunt of their parents’ frustrations. India’s denial of citizenship to children born after 2004 is a violation of Article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child relating to the right of nationality,” its report said.

On August 13, the Supreme Court said that children born after December 3, 2004 were not eligible to be included in the NRC if any of the parents was a doubtful voter, a declared foreigner or with cases pending at a Foreigners’ Tribunals.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 7:37:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/dont-treat-children-as-nrc-collateral-damage-assam-ngo/article29286915.ece

Next Story